The Power of Olive Leaf
Olive leaf is derived from the olive tree (Olea europaea), which is native to the Mediterranean. Olives and olive leaf are the first botanicals prominently noted in the Bible, in Ezekiel 47:12, “The fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine” – thus its nickname, “Tree of Life.” In Ancient Egypt the olive leaf was a symbol of heavenly power. The Egyptians extracted the oil from olives and used it to mummify pharaohs.
In ancient Greek mythology the olive tree was a gift from the goddess Athena. The olive tree is incredibly hardy and resistant to disease; astonishingly, many olive trees have lived for as long as two or three thousand years!
Olive leaf was first mentioned officially in Europe as medicine about 150 years ago. In 1854, The Pharmaceutical Journal documented the ability of olive leaf tincture to cure advanced cases of fever and malaria, as documented by a Daniel Hanbury who was kind enough to include the exact recipe used: “Boil a handful of leaves in a quart of water down to half its original volume. Then administer the liquid in the amount of a wineglass every 3 or 4 hours until the fever is cured.” Intuitively, Hanbury opined that it was probably a bitter substance in the olive leaf that was responsible for its effectiveness against fevers and malaria. He was right!
Oleuropein is also in olive oil. In fact, it’s found throughout the entire olive tree and it is, the bitter substance that’s removed from olives when they are cured. It’s what gives high quality, extra virgin, olive oil its unique flavor; a bouquet of taste consisting of: astringent, spicy, pungent notes balanced by a slightly bitter undertone. It’s what gives olive oil its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and disease-fighting capabilities.
Olive Leaf is a Broad Spectrum Healer
Back in 1962 an Italian researcher discovered that oleuropein had the ability to lower blood pressure in animals.
As European researchers continued to scrutinize oleuropein, they were rather surprised to learn that it had many additional health benefits like: increasing blood flow in coronary arteries, the ability to assuage arrhythmia and to quell intestinal muscle spasms.
Down the road a Dutch researcher found that oleuropein contained a primary constituent called elenolic acid which is anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic.
The Therapeutic Power of Olive Leaf
According to Dr. Hoffman, health professionals began prescribing Olive leaf extract (OLE) in 1995. Dr. Ronald Hoffman, MD is a practitioner of integrative medicine who has been practicing medicine for 30 years and is the Medical Director of the Hoffman Center in New York. He also hosts the Intelligent Medicine, Podcast series, is the author of many books and frequently gives health related lectures geared to his colleagues and the general public.
Dr. Hoffman has found, based on research and clinical data, that olive leaf extract is very beneficial in the treatment of a wide variety of health conditions including: conditions related to a virus, retrovirus, bacterium or protozoan. For example: influenza, the common cold, candida infections, meningitis, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), encephalitis, herpes I and II, human herpes virus 6 and 7, shingles (Herpes zoster), HIV/ARC/AIDS, chronic fatigue, hepatitis B, pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, malaria, dengue, severe diarrhea, and dental, ear, urinary tract and surgical infections.
Additionally, olive leaf can also be used long-term as a preventative agent or daily tonic, especially for those with stressful lives or who may be especially susceptible to colds or other viruses. In fact, olive leaf may be one of several herbs that usher in the new and improved holistic antibiotic era replacing harmful, toxic and now increasingly ineffective Big Pharma antibiotics.
The health benefits of Olive Leaf Extract are being published widely throughout the world. A recent book by medical researcher Morton Walker is filled with case histories, testimonials and studies of health problems that were helped through the regular use of Olive Leaf Extract. Walker is the author of numerous books, over 1,800 clinical journal and magazine articles and the winner of many awards.
One factor that makes olive leaf a superior antibiotic as compared to Big Pharma’s indiscriminate synthetic antibiotics is its ability to selectively block an entire virus-specific system in the infected host. Although, olive leaf acts as a broad spectrum antibiotic, “it selectively interferes with critical amino acid production for viruses; it has the ability to contain viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses, by preventing virus shredding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane; and the ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication.”(emphasis added)
A Closer Look at a Few of Olive Leaf’s Stellar Health Benefits
Arterial health is an important indicator of overall cardiovascular health. Endothelial cells which line the arterial walls are largely responsible for insuring adequate and even blood flow through the arteries, as well as regulating blood pressure. Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) is directly related to endothelial dysfunction, which leads to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Over time these plaques can cause a blockage of blood flow thus triggering a heart attack or stroke. Olive leaf extract combats endothelial dysfunction in a variety of ways.
Type 2 Diabetes is at epidemic levels. Chronic, elevated blood sugar leads to systemic oxidative stress, which gives rise to chronic inflammation that causes tissue damage and other bodily dysfunctions and it accelerates the aging process. In animal and in lab studies, olive leaf extract has been shown to lower blood sugar via several pathways including, slowing down the digestion of starches and simple sugars in the intestine and increasing the cells ability to uptake glucose from the blood. Olive leaf protects healthy tissues from oxidative damage and increases the overall level of antioxidant activity throughout the body.
As mentioned, because oleuropein enhances antioxidant activity throughout the body it’s a potent cancer preventative. Olive leaf extract protect cells from DNA damage due to oxidative stress, which is how malignant cells initially proliferate. It also disrupts the chemical signaling pathways that tumors rely on to organize, as well as inhibiting tumor growth factors. Interestingly, in one recent study, animals with tumors were given oleuropein and within 9 to 12 days the tumors were gone!
Olive leaf extract is a potent anti-inflammatory, which protects the brain and central nervous system from strokes and other age related degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Mediterranean folk remedies contain many references to olive leaves and their extracts as an effective preventative and treatment for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and plain old arthritis.
Recent research is now validating what herbalists have known for centuries: Olive leaf extract inhibits the inception of several types of arthritis. For example, Gout occurs when there is an accretion of uric acid crystals in joints, especially the joint of the big toe. Uric acid crystal accumulation indicates a problem with cells and their ability to properly recycle DNA and RNA. Oleuropein halts the buildup of uric acid by inhibiting the enzyme (xanthine oxidase) which is the enzyme responsible for converting DNA and RNA into uric acid.
Oleuropein can also successfully prevent and treat rheumatoid arthritis. Animal models demonstrate that when oleuropein is applied at the onset of arthritic symptoms it effectively neutralizes them. Moreover, microscopic examination of arthritic joint tissue from test animals after the administration of oleuropein showed significant improvement compared to untreated tissues. When used to treat fully blown arthritis, oleuropein significantly reduced joint inflammation. The benefits were similar for osteoarthritis.
Numerous scientific studies have concluded that the Mediterranean diet acts as a preventative for virtually every disease concomitant with aging. Olive oil contains oleuropein and plays a major part in the Mediterranean diet. However, olive leaves are an even richer source of oleuropein than olive oil. Historically, in fact, for centuries various olive leaf extracts have been employed by herbalists and traditional medicine practitioners to successfully treat a wide range of health conditions including chronic age-related diseases.
A plethora of scientific research suggests that a key reason for the Mediterranean Diet’s proven health benefits are its abundance of antioxidant compounds.
Oleuropein-rich olive leaf extracts safely help prevent and or treat many of the most common life threatening, chronic and age related diseases of our time.